I connect monitor to lenovo laptop and both screens go black.

Posted on 2014-02-02
Last Modified: 2014-02-08
Windows 7 pro lenovo t500 with HW194D monitor.

Quick explanation -- I can't get my external monitor to work.

much longer explanation:

After a year with no external monitor problems, today things got bad, then got worse.

My laptop usually is off when I get to the office, but today it was on when I left home.
I  came into the office and plugged in my mouse, keyboard, cat5, vga monitor and power.

Both the LCD and the monitor worked, and showed the same cloned screen which is normal. At this point I would normally shut the lid and push the lenovo out of the way. but right away things looked weird, the resolution on the monitor was wrong and the Icons looked bigger than normal.

Anyway, I didn't worry much about that odd resolution, so I shut the lid  and THE MONITOR WENT BLACK !!!!. I opened the laptop and both screens came on.

In my many attempts to fix it I tried a half dozen things and made it worse.

For a half hour, I could not even plug the monitor in because BOTH screens would be black! Luckily, disconnecting the monitor would cause the LCD to come back on, but it was scary.

Eventually, I figured a way to fix the "both are black" problem. I used windows key P which normally brings up a display switcher dialog showing (lcd only, clone, extended, projector only.)  normally, I can see those choices, but since both displays were black I was flying blind. I used the tab twice and hit enter, which seems to have been the right combination because both black screens became visibile as screen 1 and 2 in extended mode.

But, I don't like extended mode, so I then tried Projector only, and everything went to h**l again.

Now the only mode I can get to work is LCD only and I am thinking about throwing everything out the window and becoming a beach bum.

Question by:rberke
LVL 90

Assisted Solution

by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 170 total points
Comment Utility
Disconnect the external monitor and shut the laptop down all the way off.

I  came into the office and plugged in my mouse, keyboard, Cat5, VGA monitor and power.

Is this via a docking station or are the mouse and keyboard USB. Normally one would use a dock to do all this and leave the lid closed while running.

Take the machine out of the dock, and attach only the mouse and the Ethernet. Leave the keyboard and monitor behind. The laptop is still off.

Now start it up and now:  Does it operate totally and completely normally?

Assuming so, shut it down all the way off. Reconnect it all the way you normally do and start up. What does it do now?

.... Thinkpads_User
LVL 91

Assisted Solution

nobus earned 160 total points
Comment Utility
>>  , the resolution on the monitor was wrong   <<  it can be you have a video card problem, or  a corrupt driver for it.
does the screen look normal if you boot up into the Bios?
LVL 22

Assisted Solution

senad earned 170 total points
Comment Utility
Correct your power settings on the laptop.
"so I shut the lid  and THE MONITOR WENT BLACK !!!!." .... this is usually  normal in most cases  :) "Chose what the closing of the lid " does is up to you.

Accepted Solution

rberke earned 0 total points
Comment Utility
I "fixed" it as follows.  I took the laptop home and connected to a my asus monitor there and everything worked normally.

then, when I came into work today, everything worked like normal !

Very weird, but I have learned not to ask too many questions when weirdness like this occurs.

So, I am PAQing this problem as solved, but awarding points to you folks for your efforts.

But I am answering your questions anyhow in the hopes it might help future researchers.

I stopped using my docking station 3 months ago (no problems except it only had a 100 mbps NIC, whereas my work network has a 1 GB network).  

Yesterday I tried booting without the monitor, and it worked normally.  But, I plugged the monitor in immediately afterwords, and it flashed a clone of the desktop image for about a second, then went black.  I then immediately tried 2 reboots, one with monitor connected and lid open, and another with monitor connected and lid closed.  Both ended up with the monitor being black.

And yes, all my power settings always said "do nothing" for all events. But, from past experience, I know that it sometimes helps to set a setting to what I don't want then returning to to what I do want. So, as part of my trouble shooting, I tried changing lid close  event to "hibernate", then I close the lid and waited for the hibernation to complete. After power on, I returned the setting to "do nothing".  That did not help.  

I never tried booting to the Bios screen. That would have been interesting, but I didn't think of it.

Summary  -- There is a 30% chance that my problem was related to what I was doing two nights ago at home. I was connected to my ASUS external laptop running an RWW remote connection to a windows xp box at work which had an HP monitor.  I went to bed, with that connection active.  The next morning I was in a hurry to get to work, so I just unplugged the laptop without any attempt to close anything or power off.  When I got to work everything went down the toilet.  I suspect my laptop still thought it was connected to the ASUS monitor, or (maybe even the HP) and got hopelessly confused.  

But, I am not going to change my work habits.  If this ever happens again, I'll just run windows restore (yes, I have now turned it back on.)

Author Closing Comment

Comment Utility
I fixed the problem myself before I had a chance to try any of the suggestions.

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